Putting the "MO" in MOFO since 2004

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Such a Funny Child

I present to you the note on my sister Julie's refrigerator. Compliments of my 13 year old niece Jane.

This neat cut-out form makes it WAY too easy for a girl to break the news to her parents that she dun got herself in the Fambly way.

This way, a kid can break the news gently by tucking a parent's worst nightmare in between the Pizza Hut Coupons and their last Spelling test, in which they got a 19 out of 20. That ought to soften the blow.

Please note the "I'm kidding!" at the bottom. Such a funny child, that Jane.

What are you?

I am an ENFP

Apparently only 3% of the population are ENFP’s.

When I am not full of crap, and gratuitously laying it on a little thick to gain favor with others, I am actually a pretty cool person who loves finding meaning in life, and inspiring others with my exceptional enthusiasm. I seek meaning in everything. I am an extrovert with need for quiet speculation. Plus I can read people’s motivations like a book. So I can smell a shitbag from a mile away.

Oh, and I HATE mundane tasks (like going through the Godforsaken unrelenting mail I am bothered with EVERY DAMN DAY), and view them as complete and total wastes of time.

See Jim? That enormous pile of unread mail is just part of my emotional make-up!

Uncanny in it’s accuracy.



Take your test here, and let me know how it turns out! I want to know what makes you tick.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Scenes From a Standoff

Sunday in the parking lot of the Grocery store. In the middle of a Minnesota Blizzard:

Me: “Maggie, you have to hold my hand”

Maggie: “Mommy! No! I don’t want you to holding my hand!”

Me: “Maggie, when there are cars, you have to hold Mommy’s hand.”

Maggie (screaming): “NO! I want to WALKING. WA-A-AHLKING!!!”

I tug her arms as she is walk-pulled to the car. I raise writhing wriggling child into car and hover her flailing limbs and torso over the car-seat.

Me: Losing patience. “Maggie, sit in your car seat!”

Maggie: (Writhing herself into a convex arch, screaming): “NO! I DON’T WANT TO SIT!!!”

Me: (Trying to press convex child hovering over car-seat into concave child sitting IN car-seat) Panting: “Sit” (pant) “DOWN”.

Continue to try in vain to press her into her seat using last resort parental manhandling techniques in an effort to pop convex child into concave “shape of car-seat” child. Desperately try to latch buckles over her abundant snow-pants as she wriggles out of control.

Maggie: red faced, crying real tears: “NO!! EEEEE-eeeeee!”

By now, only the neighborhood dogs can hear her pleas. They peek out of their respective windows, doors, and alleyways and wag their tails at me in sympathy.

Me: (Whimpering. Defeated by two year old): “Maggie…” press on her lap in one last ridiculous, halfhearted attempt to press child into car-seat. Wonder if anyone watching will call Child protective Services. Want. To. SCREAM. BAD. WORDS!

Stop. Sigh. Pant. Wonder how long this standoff will last. Wonder how long it will take loved ones to grow concerned and send out a search party for the missing parent and child horn-locked in epic four-day battle in grocery store parking lot. Pick child up and out of car. She crumples against me. Hug her face to mine. Feel warm tears on cold cheeks.

Me: “Maggie. What is wrong? You need to sit in the car-seat so I can buckle you in. You are behaving very badly and mommy is very. VERY. ANGRY.”

Maggie, rueful, goes limp and allows herself to be placed in car-seat. Drained, I weakly buckle her in, my arms trembling with fatigue, and shuffle slowly to the drivers seat.

Me: Sternly but calmly “Maggie, you are getting a time-out when you get home. You behaved VERY BADLY.”

Maggie: (with the most pathetically sad face ever seen by human eyes) “Mommy, make me feel better?”

Me: cringe with guilt, then straighten shoulders, and reinstate resolve. “I love you honey, but you are GETTING a time-out when we get home”.

Maggie miraculously recovers from the trauma of our altercation in approximately one nanosecond. She sings along to the song on the radio and bounces her head to the music.

We arrive home. I remove her from the car-seat and slog-lug her into the house.

Me: “Maggie, you’re getting a time out.”

Maggie: (cheerfully reeking of desperation) “But I’m MUCH BETTER now Mommy!” To prove this, she leans in and plants a large kiss on my cheek. “I’m sorry!” she rushes. “I love you mommy” she gushes. She leans in for a very enthusiastic hug.

I know when I am being worked.

Me: “I love you too. But you are still getting a time-out because you didn’t listen to mommy”.

Maggie: “b-b-but my s-s-snowpants! My mi-mi-mittens!”

I walk her to the time out spot and remove her snowpants, hat and mittens. She sobs and wails. I walk away, mildly alarmed by the intense satisfaction I feel. Is it vengeance? Is it pride? Am I pleased that I stuck to my guns, and that this tough love is good for her? All of the above.

Two minutes later:

Me: “Maggie, you got a time out because you didn’t listen, and didn’t’ cooperate when mommy needed to put you in your carseat. Tell Mommy you’re sorry.”

Maggie: (head lowered, she rushes in for a hug and mumbles) “sah-wee”.

We hug and she turns on her heel and bursts out cheerily “Can we play with my animals?”

I need a nap. Crumple into a ball on the floor. Assume fetal position.

Maggie: “Lalalalalala!”

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Incredible Shrinking Girlhood

One of my favorite sayings:

"When you have children, the days are long, and the years are short"

I have yet to find a better one-sentence summation of the crazy time-warp that is parenthood.

If you happen to be the parent of a daughter, it seems those years are getting even shorter.

There exists a bizarre and disturbing cultural phenomenon. It threatens to rob our daughters of years of childhood, and it has a name. It's called "The sexualization of young girls". It also has a task force. I suppose that's a good thing. But somehow knowing that doesn't do much to ease the rock of seething anger that thunks around my stomach every time I think about it.

I am trying to determine what cultural or (more likely) economic need is fulfilled when young girls are made to feel objectified before they hit puberty. Why buy Dora underwear at Target, when you can buy Thongs for your 8 year old at limited t00? Even more baffling to me, is what the parents of these kids are thinking (or perhaps not thinking). I know the typical offenders well. Bratz Dolls, and clothing that makes elementary school kids look like hoochie mama streetwalkers. Why on God's green earth are parents letting their daughters walk out of the house wearing that kind of garbage? Don't they grow up too fast as it is?

Thanks to Tracey over at Sweetney for writing a compelling piece and a link to this article in her post.

The article mentioned above reads:

"Girls also sexualize themselves when they think of themselves in objectified terms. Psychological researchers have identified self-objectification as a key process whereby girls learn to think of and treat their own bodies as objects of others’ desires (Frederickson & Roberts, 1997; McKinley & Hyde, 1996). In self-objectification, girls internalize an observer’s perspective on their physical selves and learn to treat themselves as objects to be looked at and evaluated for their appearance. Numerous studies have documented the presence of self-objectification in women more than in men. Several studies have also documented this phenomenon in adolescent and preadolescent girls (McConnell, 2001; Slater & Tiggemann, 2002)."

Further evidence that parents who place their children in beauty pageants are abusing their kids, and should be placed on parental probation. And probably kicked hard in the shins.

There are emotional and cognitive consequences for girls who self-objectify. And yet, it's culturally pervasive, and seems to be growing more so.

Personally, I don't care if my daughter is still playing with (non-hoochie variety) dolls at the age of 17. As long as she's not preoccupied about whether her body looks good enough for for someone else's enjoyment, I will host her tea parties til she's 30.

How sad to think that young girls get cultural messages that the primary purpose of their bodies (and entire existence) are for being ogled and for the pleasuring of boys. Pardon me while I swallow bile.

How do we battle an entire cultural phenomenon on behalf of our daughters?

I plan to pull store managers aside in every retail operation where I find inappropriate items being marketed to young girls, and give them an earful.

I plan to tell every parent who puts their daughter in a kiddie pageant that they are absolute morons and need to go to remedial parenting camp. Then I will make them watch the epsiode of "Intervention" that features the beauty queen who downed 14 mini's of Smirnoff a day because she needed to look perfect and be perfect. And she was drowning her failure in vodka.

I plan to talk to my daughter about body image.

I plan to honor her mind, and her humor, and her creativity more that I praise her looks. Even though I think she is the most beautiful child in the world. It will be hard not to tell her that on a daily basis.

When she is old enough, I plan to discuss the objectification of women with her, and to point it out when I see it.

Maggie is two and half. I hate that I live in a society in which I have to worry about this crap. Growing up is hard enough. Why are we dumping this stuff on our girls?

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Love means never having to share your Chutney

I have developed newfound empathy for crack addicts. But not the kind of addictive substance Ms. Whitney Houston was referring to when she astutely observed “Crack is Whack”. I didn’t smoke it in a pipe.

I stuffed it in my mouth. Rapidly. My crack was a lovely hot mango chutney in which I dipped coconut shrimp. I could not stop. My Valentines dinner conversation consisted of this:

Me: “Oh. My. GOD. This is good.”

Jim: “We have really grown together as a couple. I love you.”

Me: “I can’t believe I have never tried this before!!!”

Jim: “We are truly blessed.”

Me: “Would you pass me some more shrimp? This is HEAVEN!”

Maggie: “I love you mommy. Happy Balentines!”

Me: “Are you going to eat that?”

Other observations:

I enjoy cooking again. I enjoy it because Maggie enjoys helping me, and I enjoy overseeing her enjoyment. I set Maggie up on a chair at the counter, and she assists by chattering away, stirring things and making sculptures with a head of iceberg lettuce, half a lime, and two spears of half-eaten raw asparagus (it was impressive – her sense for color, symmetry, and spatial relations is uncanny). She also helps me prepare dinner by chomping stalks of raw asparagus and then exclaiming “ROOOOAAAAR! I’m a Dinosaur!” as green bits fly out of her mouth. Then she orders me to “act scared”.

It sure beats her old schtick: Standing between me and the stove, stomping her feet and pushing me back shrieking “NO MOMMY!” and then throwing herself on the floor kicking and screaming whilst I struggle to not spill something on her head.

Now if I can only figure out how to keep the dogs out of the Valentines cupcakes, next year will be an absolute breeze.

Now that I have unlocked the magnificent bounty of mango chutney, the joy waiting to be gleaned from life is utterly limitless.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Lessons in Misery

It was week 2 of muddling through fantastically shiteous below-zero weather. I thought I would lose my mind, being cooped up all day every day. I wallowed in self-pity and lamented my boredom and the walls that surrounded me.

My self-absorbed moping was a cue for the universe to chuckle, and throw me a curveball.

I thought I knew misery.

I knew something was wrong when Maggie wanted to snuggle. She planted herself on my lap, draped her arms around my shoulders, and didn’t move (not that I wanted her to – I enjoy my rare moments of snuggling because she rarely sits still for such things).

With her head dangling over my shoulder, her stomach spontaneously erupted for the first time. It was the first of approximately 42 vomiting episodes. . Warm. Vomit. Down my back and into the couch cushions.

“Uh-oh” She squeaked. “I spilled”.

"Yeah honey, you sure did".

What followed was a blur or panic and sleep deprivation, but I vaguely recall washing 6 pairs of pajamas, 5 sets of sheets and washing and drying her vomit-soaked blanket 7 times. Jim followed us from room to room, scrubbing the floor with carpet cleaner while I tried to soothe Maggie, who seemed utterly baffled by the entire scene.

The first day, she took it like a champ. She offered up a sweet, tired “thank you mommy” and a warm, weak smile every time I handed her a cup of pedialite or a cracker.

Frankly, I was impressed by her ability to stay in good spirits as long as she did. I marveled at her diminutive strength.

Until the following night when she hit her limit.

I leapt out of bed and raced to her room every time the coughing started, and tried to soothe her through the dry heaves that racked her exhausted little body. She convulsed and choked for what seemed like torturous excruciating eternities. When she finally caught her breath, she wailed miserable tears of surrender. She sobbed as though the universe had betrayed her. This scenario repeated itself twice an hour until 3:00 a.m.

It just about killed me.

I wanted to sit on the floor and cry. I wanted to take each microbe or viral cell or whathaveyou, and beat the life out of every one of them. I wanted to shout “She’s just a little girl! Leave her alone! Let her sleep, you miserable assholes! She’s just a baby!” I cursed the germs of the world, and swore to not let her play with another germ infested child until she hit puberty. Screw kindergarten.

She started coughing up dark green bile.

I thought about parents whose children have cancer, and terminal illness, and my heart bled for them. Watching your child suffer is the worst thing imaginable.

All the next day, we doggedly watched for signs of dehydration. She sat in a chair and dozed all day. She wouldn’t speak. She wouldn’t smile. I had to hold her down while she cried, to force water into her mouth, because she refused everything we offered her.

I was certain she would grow up to hate me for holding her down while she cried. She would refuse water for the rest of her life due to the emotional scarring, and we would have to buy a hospital bed and stick an IV in her every night. She would have to drag an IV and a feeding tube on a rolling rack to the prom. We would decorate it with flowers to match her dress.

We put her to bed, still lethargic and combative. I checked on her compulsively through the night.

In the dark of the wee hours the next morning, I woke to hear her small footsteps. They stopped by the side of my bed.

“Good morning Mommy.” She beamed her signature bright-eyed greeting. “It’s time to wake up!”

Relief washed over my entire being. My heart sang with joy. I couldn’t have kept the smile from spreading across my face if I had tried. I got up, and went to the kitchen with Maggie trotting behind me. I poured milk for her in the grey of the early morning.

Welcome back, baby girl. It's good to see you again.

The shiteous weather will continue through the weekend, but suddenly it doesn’t seem quite so bad.

Weather be damned, I am grateful to have a very limited understanding of true misery.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Americans are wierd.
What do you get when you cross "News as entertainment" with a bunch of Puritannical Americans who tend to deny that there is anything normal about the biology and phisiology of human sexuality?
"News" that includes



And this:

It seems we might want to focus our shock, interest, and moral judgement on other things.

Some days the top stories say scary things about American culture. This was one of them.

Monday, February 05, 2007


Sixteen Below Brings a Special Kind of Crazy

It's too cold to leave the house. This kind of cold makes my brain go dead, and my car wheeze.

This weekend, I learned to play chess. I baked my own bread. I sighed. A lot.

I am getting weirder by the day.

If this weather pattern continues, I may complete shoebox dioramas of the nations largest 25 cities, complete with state birds and flowers. Perhaps I will spin my own yarn and make a latch- hook rug of the Mona Lisa, but in neon colors. What could a person do with toilet paper rolls and empty boxes of baby wipes? How many things can a person make with flour, water, sugar, and eggs? How about a paper mache bra?

I want to get out of the house, but I don't want to leave the house. Because it's sixteen below.

The local news keeps running stories about how it's illegal to let your unmanned car run with the keys inside. I think I will continue to tempt the fates. Because when it's 16 below zero, it's just plain crazy to sit in your cold car while it warms up. My daughter's diaper would freeze to her car seat and then what, I ask you? THEN WHAT?

Sanity preserving suggestions are welcome.

Friday, February 02, 2007


Things I have learned this week.

Staying home with children is harder than working.

I have been straddling both worlds while the in-laws are in Florida, staying at home with Maggie in the mornings and zipping to work at noon every day. I have never been so exhausted in my whole entire life. I love hanging out with her in the morning. Don't get me wrong. But GOOD LORD those little people sure take it out of you.

That may help explain the extended silence on this site.

Random Smattering of tidbits:

Something a man who wants to keep his gonads in tact should never ever say to his wife:

"I don't think other women complain as much as you. I mean, maybe because I am not married to other women, I don't hear them complain. That and you really complain a lot. More than anyone I know."

They are never too young to train:

If your bank offers a one-time grab into a change jar to children who open up new bank accounts, letting them keep whatever change they can grab with one hand, it's best to have Grandpa practice with them a few times before you go. Because if you do, a two and a half year old might grab Five dollars and Thirty six cents in change in one little dimpled toddler hand. I don't know. It impressed the Hell out of me.

This state is not for the faint of heart: If you don't enjoy the feeling of snot freezing in your nose every time you inhale outdoors, don't live in Minnesota. Also, if you like leaving your home in winter, it's best to not live here.

On a brighter note: Patty Griffin's new album is coming out next week. I have pre-ordered mine, and happened to catch a chance broadcast of one of her new songs on my way into work, which is even more extraordinary because she never gets played on the radio.
Why her name is not yet a household name is beyond me, but we also re-elected "W" into office, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by much.